Man (32) smashed TVs at Paddy Power for ‘ruining his life’ through gambling

Court told defendant had become homeless and wanted to get into prison as he was tired sleeping on the streets

The judge said the defendant had not only caused criminal damage, he had also put patrons and staff at Paddy Power in fear even if the risk to them was peripheral. File photograph: Michael Stephens/PA Wire

The judge said the defendant had not only caused criminal damage, he had also put patrons and staff at Paddy Power in fear even if the risk to them was peripheral. File photograph: Michael Stephens/PA Wire

 

A homeless man has been jailed for two years after he admitted smashing up twelve TV screens worth over €15,000 at Paddy Power bookmakers because he blamed the bookies for his gambling addiction and ruining his life.

Philip Barry (32), a native of Ballincollig, Co Cork but currently of no fixed abode, went into the Paddy Power shop on Cornmarket Street in Cork on June 4th 2019 and picked up a stool and smashed the 55 inch TV screens.

He pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage when he appeared at Cork Circuit Criminal Court last November and was remanded in custody until Wednesday for sentence by Judge Brian O’Callaghan.

Defence barrister Alison McCarthy BL said on Wednesday that her client had deliberately smashed the TV screens as he wanted to get into prison as he had nowhere to stay and was tired of sleeping on the streets.

The court previously heard that Barry had a total of 103 previous convictions including eight for criminal damage as well as ones for assault and public order but he was not on bail at the time of the latest offence.

Ms McCarthy pleaded for leniency, pointing out that the defendant had stayed out of trouble from 2009 until 2018 when he was living at home with his parents but he left home after his mother died as he did not get on with his father.

The fact he had stayed out of trouble between 2009 and 2018 highlighted the difference that secure accommodation made and she said Barry’s sister was willing to offer him a place to stay if he was to receive a suspended sentence.

However Judge Brian O’Callaghan said it was a serious case.

He acknowledged that Barry had assisted gardaí by voluntarily handing himself in within three hours of smashing the TVs and making full admissions.

But he said Barry had not only caused criminal damage, he had also put patrons and staff at Paddy Power in fear even if the risk to them was peripheral.

Judge O’Callaghan sentenced him to three years but suspended the final 12 months.